10 at 10 Spotlight: Meeko G [Interview]
Calgary, AB – For this month’s 10 at 10 Spotlight, we feature veteran MC and Calgary rookie, Meeko G. Those in attendance at 10 at 10 on Feb. 5 (or anyone who happened to be plugged in to the Calgary Twitter scene) likely saw Meeko shut down the 10 at 10 stage, despite being slotted at the tenth performer for the night. Not to be deterred, Meeko made sure no one left Commonwealth without feeling treated (as attendees should soon come to expect). Calgary got its first taste of Meeko G at 10 at 10 Vol. 29. But what most didn’t know is that he’s been a veteran of the game out in the East for decades.
Though he hails from Lagos, Nigeria, Meeko came up in the mid ’90s Toronto scene after moving to Canada in 1991. At the time, he saw the scene in Toronto as a mirror of what was happening in East Coast American rap and was hooked instantly. He started working out his own rhyming ability, first perfecting a Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch track and working out from there.
“The community is making things happen. Much respect to the major players behind it. As an artist it’s a big deal to have something like that taking off.” – Meeko G
Despite being a newcomer to the Calgary scene, Meeko is already ingraining himself into the YYC hip-hop scene, and you can regularly find him scouting out local talents at events like Feedback Fridays at BeatDrop Studios. The differences between Calgary and Toronto have already become evident to Meeko, though. Meeko says the difference in the crowds is noticeable: you have to work for every cheer you get out East. Nothing comes for free. That is part of the reason behind Toronto’s reputation as the “screwface capital.” He’s noticed a general city-wide Torontonian sense of always waiting for the next big thing to break. In a city so saturated with talent, Meeko believes this waiting game leads to too many good artists being held back. In his minimal time out West, Meeko’s seen a marked difference. Those of us in the scene talk about it, and Meeko himself say he’s noticed the momentum swinging towards Calgary’s hip-hop scene. The biggest thing he’s noticed out here is how much people are jumping behind the scene here.
He’s now been in the city for only a few months and is already planning some collabos, although he’s keeping those close to the vest for now. For now, we’ll all have to wait on The Random Acts of Music EP, scheduled to drop later on this year. The project will feature two or three tracks from regular Meeko collaborator Kujo Kanuck, as well as a few local cats. We’ll definitely have to keep an ear to the ground for that.
Meeko G: Q&A
Interview conducted by Sarosh Rizvi for HipHopCanada
HipHopCanada: How do you define hip-hop, and where do you feel you fit into that definition?
Meeko G: Hip-hop is expression. It’s more than just art and entertainment. It reflects all aspects of things we go through in day-to-day life, whether good, bad or everything in between. It’s the voice that allows me to express my joys, my frustrations, my dreams and ultimately just life in general. I love different types of music but I probably wouldn’t be creating music if hip-hop didn’t exist, because it became a part of my being.
HHC: How has living in Calgary influenced your sound?
MG: I’ve only been in Calgary for a few months so a lot of the influence comes from Toronto where I’m originally from. I am a student of that golden era style of hip-hop. And Toronto back then (’90s) was a reflection of that. That’s the core of my sound. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with regards to hip-hop in Calgary but I like what I’ve experienced thus far. Hip-hop culture at its purest form is definitely embraced by people here, and my sound is a derivative of pure hip-hop.
HHC: How was your experience with 10 at 10 and how did you set your set?
MG: My experience at 10 at 10 was a good one. It gave me a chance to work a bigger Calgary crowd because prior to that I’d only performed for smaller open mic type of audiences in Calgary since I’ve been here. With regards to my set, I wanted to give the audience a sample of my past works and then a taste of what is to come all while exhibiting every aspect of my brand of hip-hop. I went with an up-tempo song first, then a boom-bap type of song and then something a bit more mid-tempo. I saw people moving to every song which was a good thing because I wanted that.
HHC: How do you feel the Calgary scene is growing and where does 10 at 10 fit into your own growth as an artist?
MG: So far I’m impressed by what I see in the Calgary hip-hop scene. The community is making things happen. Much respect to the major players behind it. As an artist it’s a big deal to have something like that taking off. It gives me a chance to showcase my material as I hone my craft.
HHC: Which artists have you worked with that left an impression on you, and why?
MG: The producer responsible for most of my first album, The Detour: Kujo Kanuck. His beats have pretty much created my sound. Just when I think I have him figured out, he comes with something I don’t expect. He’s constantly reinventing himself.
HHC: Which local and Canadian artists would you most like to collaborate with?
MG: Honestly there isnt anyone that comes to mind. There are a lot of nice local acts and Canadian artists and I’m willing to collaborate with whomever my style meshes with.
HHC: Tell us about past and present successes?
MG: The best is yet to come. I havent experienced the kind of success I want, yet, so it’s not even worth mentioning. Just stay tuned. I got something for y’all.